Where Does My Teen’s Time Go?

Where Did My Teen's Time Go?

It’s the beginning of the school year and schedules can get crazy! Your teen may be dealing with homework, sports, activities, family time, friends and work all on top of school. It’s easy for some things to slide if young people aren’t organized and using their time wisely.

Teens can learn to monitor and schedule their time so they will be able to fit everything they need and want to do into their schedule. By managing themselves and their time effectively teens can reduce their stress and be more prepared when something unexpected comes their way.

Tracking Time

We only have 24 hours in a day so a good place to start is to figure out how your teen is using their time. Every day for a week, have your teen write down what they are doing and when. (It is hard to recreate the week looking back so help your teen remember to write activities down daily.)

This is a Weekly Time Tracking Calendar I put together using Word where your teen can write their activities. There are lots of ways you can track your time so if this doesn’t work for you do a web search to find another form, make your own or just use the computer or a notebook. Set this up with your teen to be as easy as possible so they will follow through.

Scheduling Time

At the end of the week review the tracking together so you can see what got done, what didn’t get done and where time was wasted. Once you and your teen have an idea of how they are spending their time you can put together a schedule. Here are some steps to get you started.

  • Write down activities that have set times – school, practice, games, work, appointments, etc.
  • Add in due dates for have big assignments or tests so they can plan time to prepare.
  • Schedule time for homework, reading or projects.
  • Don’t forget to set aside time to eat (with the family if possible) and sleep!

Here is the same Weekly Calendar , filled in as an example.

Of course following the plan is the tough part. Your teen will probably need some help staying on track. With practice and encouragement teens can learn to manage their time effectively and still fit in the fun stuff.

There are also some apps out there that can help with managing time. This article talks about some good apps for students 5 Best Time Management Apps For Students (I have not personally used any of these apps except Google calendar, which I like a lot).

NOTE: If your teen writes all of their commitments down on a schedule and cannot fit in ANYTHING else it may be time to rethink some of their activities. Everyone needs a little unstructured free time.

Do you have a great idea for managing time? I’d love to hear it!

Other articles you might enjoy:
Homework Planning & Organizational Tips for Students & Athletes

 

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4 responses to “Where Does My Teen’s Time Go?

  1. Jodi, I love the apps and I love love love that you suggested teens may be over-scheduled. In my practice, it’s rare that I find a teen who isn’t booked solid – often with activities that the teen really loves. However, with the research that’s come out in the last few years on teen sleep deprivation and high levels of teen stress, I do think that many parents need to be more willing to take the reigns and restrict extra-curricular and social activities to a healthier level. (And, by the way, the parents often express the concern that if their teen isn’t doing all these things, they won’t make it into college!)

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    • Hi Tamara! I’m so sorry for the slow response! I seem to be having some issues with my comments 😦 Thank you so much for coming by! I see the same thing, teens are constantly overbooked and they really need to have a little down time. Often parents are pushing as well but if a teen burns out at 16 they aren’t doing themselves any favors.

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  2. HI Jodi:

    Thanks so much for this great resource. I have a lot of teens in my practice who participate in high-demand sports. Finding time to sleep, eat, do homework, and relax can be really challenging. This is something I can definitely pass along.

    I especially like the idea of starting by recalling a week to see where time went. I think we usually don’t even know what happens with certain blocks of time, or we have unrealistic expectations of what we can do in a block of time.
    Thanks so much.

    Amy

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  3. Thanks Amy! I also find that so many teens (and adults) have no idea where their time goes so figuring that out gives you a good starting point. I hope your clients find this useful!

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